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– by Brendan Hughes

SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War ahead! You’ve been warned!

Avengers: Infinity War has been out for almost two weeks now but there is still much to discuss on this literal bombshell left by Marvel. While the movie was focused mostly on the collection of the Infinity Stones, there is a notable absence of the collection of the Power Orb. We last saw this stone at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 being taken from Ronan’s clutches and left in the hands of the depleted Nova Corps. This turned out to be a mistake, as many pointed out at the time, with Thanos wiping out Xandar’s forces before he likely even had control of a single stone. With Thanos presumably wiping out an entire army to get to the stone it leaves the question as to why it was not included in the film. This can be attributed to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige not wanting this film to turn into any more of a galactic errand run or extend the runtime any further as it already was the longest movie Marvel released. However, this scene is too great to omit which leaves the only other option of being used in the future.

The film that would make the most sense on including the destruction of Nova Corps is Nova. It is not yet known how the vaporized population will return though there are two distinct causes of death. One method is through the use of the Infinity Gauntlet which vaporized half the universe population to restore balance. The other method was through physical action as we have seen with Loki, Gamora, and seemingly the Nova Corps. Nova’s claim to fame is being the last of the Nova Corps inheriting his mantle from Rhomann Dey. Rhomann Dey, who played by John C. Reilly in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, would likely be on the run if the Nova Corps was dismantled by Thanos on his way to the orb. The corps’ intel of the universe is substantial with Nova Prime listing off Terra (Earth) as if it were common knowledge despite living many parsecs away from the Milky Way. It would not be surprising if this is the destination Dey goes next either to warn Earth of Thanos’ impending visit or to find his successor given Earth’s many heroes.

The way Xandar’s destruction will likely be portrayed, if it ever is, is in Nova’s first act, establishing the character. The connection between Richard Rider and corpsman Dey is an important part of Nova’s history. With the pieces lined up already as the byproduct of other films the plot of the film should integrate previous installments and serve as an aggregate. With the open roster spots currently available in the Guardians lineup it is plausible that he may join the team if Marvel decides to make the fourth installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy series.

As reported last month, Feige has announced that Nova is getting closer to seeing his name on the big screen. The most important word Feige used to describe Nova’s status in the MCU was ‘immediate potential’ indicating the wait for the gold-plated hero is soon coming to a close. Using Thanos to give Rider a backdoor entrance into the MCU fits well with the comics where Thanos was also involved, albeit indirectly. The actual timing for Nova to blast his way into the MCU is yet to be seen as there has been no news on casting. With the untitled Avengers film being in post-production, there is zero chance that we will see Nova show up joining the limited available roster of heroes. As Feige was mentioning how he was in the original lineup for the Guardians film it is likely tied to that series. With Guardians of the Galaxy holding down the space front currently, it is unlikely that he will appear. With the third installment coming in 2020 it is likely that Nova will be given the torch after the film as Marvel’s space romping quota.

However, I could be reading way too much into the lack of Xandar’s presence in Infinity War. It is all too likely that the reason that it was excluded could be due to the logistics of the film. The film was already tying records for one of the highest production budgets with $300 million used which likely indicates it may be a cost-saving measure. The amount needed to digitally construct Xandar for Thanos’ arrival would likely be too much for the pitstop on the galactic road trip. It may have been to reduce some time off an already lengthy runtime of 149 minutes—the longest in the franchise. Or the last possible option for the absence of Xandar is that it just isn’t that important how Thanos collects the stones. In all honesty, most fans don’t really care how Thanos collects them, minus the Mind Stone, as fans aren’t lining up to see Thanos complete his errands. It matters much more what Thanos does with the stones as seen in the last act of Infinity War. In the next Avengers film, the real fun will start as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes run into a fully powered Eternal.

Though there is no official word on why Xandar failed to make an appearance it was deliberate planning by Marvel executives. The options of why they did this can be tracked to either logistical issues or tabling for later use. The logistical issues include not wanting to raise in the budget higher than $300 million or not wanting to extend the longest runtime of the franchise. Both these options look at Xandar as an unimportant part of the MCU, currently, and consider it an afterthought. The other way to look at this is that Feige is looking at the ‘immediate potential’ of Nova and is using Xandar’s destruction for his origin movie. With the destruction of Nova Corps, the pieces are set up for the introduction of Richard Rider with John C. Reilly’s Rhomann Dey passing the torch down the line.

Let us know what you think. Why has Xandar been left out of Avengers: Infinity War?

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